The number of flu cases in New Hampshire is on the rise, but there have been no deaths reported.
Health officials said flu season is just getting started, but flu activity is at a regional level, one step lower than widespread, the highest level. The flu typically causes congestion, fatigue, fever and muscle aches.
“You are most contagious within the first 24-48 hours, although it can go up to 10 days,” said Dr. J. John Kim of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
Kim said there have been confirmed cases of influenza at DHMC.
“We are hoping that we don’t get an epidemic here, but I think that more people have become more progressive over time,” he said.
Doctors are reminding people to get the flu vaccine, which is available as a shot or nasal spray.
“As long as we all try to vaccinate to prevent an epidemic, that is the key thing,” Kim said.
Health officials said the vaccine helps protect anyone who’s vulnerable.
“It’s not just protecting you and your family,” said Concord High School nurse Mary Palm. “It’s protecting your co-workers and everyone out in the public.”
Staff members at Concord High School are also asking students and teachers to take steps to stop the spread of germs.
“Stay home when you have a fever, use good handwashing and good coughing technique,” Palm said.
If a family member comes down with the flu, doctors said medication is available to help prevent it from spreading.
“If you have a documented case in your family, you can take Tamiflu, and you can take that for up to four days, and that will reduce your symptoms,” Kim said.
Health officials said they don’t know exactly how many cases of flu there have been in the state this season, because not everyone with symptoms is tested.